Are you trying to build good habits, but find that bad ones get in your way. It’s time to change both. The person you are today is a result of the things you do continuously, which means your habits. If you have to lose weight, it isn’t that one piece of cake that put on the pounds you have to lose. It’s the habit of eating a few extra calories each meal or grabbing a high calorie snack that puts the calorie count over the top. If you’re out of shape, it’s not because you missed one workout session. It’s because you never actually got started and were sedentary most of the time. You are the result of your habits.
Habits all develop the same way, whether good or bad.
Habits are basically a chain reaction. If you’ve ever switched jobs, you’ve probably experienced going toward the old job mindlessly instead of driving toward your new job. You’ve done it so long and it’s your way to work that it’s a natural reaction when you get into your car. It’s the same with habits. You have to first identify the problem, like slumping in your chair when you get home. There’s always something that starts that behavior—called a trigger or reminder. In the case of driving the wrong way, it’s going to work. For those who don’t exercise, it’s getting off work. You then respond with a routine—driving to the old job or hunkering down in the easy chair. The reward is the next step. In the case of driving the wrong way, there’s no reward—paycheck—for going the wrong way, so the chain is broken and the habit disappears or starts to disappear. For those living the sedentary life, it’s watching TV or grabbing some zzzz’s is still a reward.
It’s tough to end a bad habit.
Once you identify bad habits, it’s easier to change them. Find an alternative. For instance, if snacking is your downfall, identify the time you snack and have healthy snacks ready. If you’re a grazer, make sure there’s plenty of healthy food you can eat when you graze that are nutritious, yet low in calories like fresh fruit and vegetables. If slumping in the easy chair after work is your bad habit, go to the gym right after work instead of home. You’ve broken the cycle and changed the trigger.
When you’re developing a new habit, take baby steps at first.
Decide the new behavior you want and create a way to achieve it. If it’s eating healthier, shopping for snack foods simply don’t fit the plan. Having healthy snacks available does. That both ends unhealthy habits and starts new healthier ones. Create reminders that can be your new cues to a healthier habit. Having an appointment with a trainer is a reminder to work out. It’s one of the reasons working with a trainer is more successful. Working out at the same time creates a habit and once it’s formed, it’s easier to keep.
- Create a compact with yourself to workout at the same time every day and stick with it for at least two months to form a habit, but it’s worth it.
- If you want to get in the habit of moving around at least five minutes out of every hour, use your phone to remind you to do that. It’s easy to remember if your alarm goes off every 50 minutes to an hour.
- New habits fail because the change is too big, difficult or ambitious. Start with baby steps. If you need to exercise more, start by taking ten-minute walks and extend the time and pace every two weeks.
- Don’t give yourself an out. Take your lunch to work so you can’t opt for an unhealthy lunch. Meet a friend at the gym to ensure you’ll go. Create a plan that ensures you’ll accomplish your goal for the day and turn it into a habit eventually.
For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness